Hornets top after gritty victory
Hornets went top of the league after a hard-fought victory at Avon.
Avon 3 pts
Hornets 15 pts
HORNETS 1st XV travelled to Hicks Field, the home of Avon RFC, on the outskirts of Bath, along with their 2nd XV for both teams to play re-arranged Western Counties North and Somerset 2 North fixtures respectively.
A win for Hornets would see them go top of the league on points’ difference and a bonus point win would see them go clear by one point.
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The first half was played out mostly between the 22s, but with Avon sensing that they could cause an upset, and with Hornets constantly penalised 10 metres for questioning refereeing decisions, Avon ended the half on the front foot.
Hallett was yellow carded with two minutes of the half remaining. Hornets managed to keep Avon out, but within minutes of the restart, Avon made use of the extra man and were awarded a penalty, which was converted for a 3-0 lead.
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With the Hornets’ forwards starting to dominate at the set piece, it gave the backs more time on the ball. Gadd was making inroads as was Bradley and this combination soon paid off as forwards and backs combined and Bradley crossed for his first of the day.
Hornets started to use the bench as Vaughan replaced Sheridan on the wing and Chenoweth replaced Grimes in the front row.
As the game entered the last 15 mnutes and with Gould on for Fereday, with Chenoweth moving into the second row, the front five finally took control.
Avon started to concede the odd penalty and Leatherby started to find touch and with 10 minutes left on the clock, Hogarth’s take at the line-out saw the customary drive and Chase scored his 13th try of the season.
The conversion was missed, but, with a seven point lead Hornets went looking for the bonus point that would put them clear at the top of the table.
The restart saw Hornets throw caution to the wind as they strove to get the fourth try. The front five now took charge Hogarth’s take at the line-out saw them drive infield a full 35 metres.
As the maul collapsed, free ball saw Hornets recycle through the forwards twice before the ball was released to the backs. Gadd took the crash and popped to Bradley, who cruised over for his second of the afternoon.
A quick drop attempt at the conversion was missed as Hornets looked to keep the clock running for the elusive bonus point. The restart saw Hornets gain ground, but the visitors were kept at bay until the final whistle.
Hornets sit on top of Western Counties North by virtue of an impressive points difference of 213.
On Saturday, Hornets will be looking to cement their position with another tough game on the road at Bristol Harlequins (2.30pm).
Hornets 2nd XV 34 pts
Avon 2nd XV 5 pts
THE seconds scraped together a team, that had several players playing out of position, and saw B Collings come out of retirement to fill in the front row.
S Owens was first to touch down and good work by Collings, B Cox and D Whitford enabled Hornets to hold their own. Another try was touch down and following a good catch and drive at a line-out, S Burrell crossed for the third try, converted by B Ashfield for a 17-0 half-time lead.
After the break, Avon crossed in the corner. Hornet hit back with good play by S Burrell, J Lawrence and J Snelling, leading to Owens’ second try, again converted by Ashfield.
From the restart, more good play by Hornets saw Ashfield cross out wide. Good work by J Kingman, S Edwards, Ashfield and C Hull kept Hornets on top. An interception by Owens led to his third try for a final score of 34-5.
A special mention must go to Avon, as a Hornets supporter had a heart attack after the game, but they saved his life and he was transferred off to hospital, where he is making a full recovery.